Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Best mattress type 2022: Which is better, springs or foam or hybrid?

Advertisement

We weigh up the pros and cons of each mattress type to help you choose the best model for you

Buying a mattress isn’t like it used to be. You not only need to decide on your budget and the right level of firmness for you, but with memory foam seemingly ever increasing in popularity, you’ve now got to choose between foam, springs, or a combination of the two.

On top of that, a shift to online shopping means that you’re unlikely to be able to try the full range of options in person, with popular bed-in-a-box brands such as Emma and Otty being sold almost exclusively online. The upside, however, is that these new-age mattresses invariably come with some kind of money-back guarantee.

In an effort to make the mattress market a little less confusing for consumers, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the differences between springs and foam, so you can make a well-informed buying decision.

READ NEXT: The best mattresses we’ve tested


Best mattress type: At a glance


The best mattress type: Memory foam vs sprung mattresses

Memory foam

Memory foam is a dense visco-elastic foam, in which the primary ingredient is polyurethane plastic. Many all-foam mattresses, such as the Emma Original, are made up from different layers of foam.

Pros

  • Moulds to the shape of your body, relieving pressure and aiding spinal alignment
  • Can isolate movement and reduce motion transfer
  • Less susceptible to body impressions (though it can still sag over time)

Cons

  • Can become uncomfortably warm
  • Gives off a plasticky smell when first released from vacuum packaging
  • Doesn’t offer much bounce
  • Can be harder to turn over on a foam mattress

Should I buy a memory foam mattress?

Lying on a memory foam mattress can sometimes feel like being enveloped in a giant marshmallow, which is certainly not for everyone. That being said, they do tend to feel a lot more sumptuous than sprung mattresses.

Plus, if you are regularly disturbed in the night due to a partner’s movement, memory foam mattresses offer the best levels of isolation.

The best foam mattresses to buy

Emma Original: The best memory foam mattress for couples

Price: From £449 (single) | Buy now from Emma

A superbly versatile mattress, the Emma Original offers comfort and support regardless of whether you prefer to lie on your back, side or front. It’s for this reason that, in our best mattress roundup, we recommended the Emma Original as a great option for couples who might be struggling to find a compromise in terms of firmness.

Read our full review of the Emma Original

The Emma Original is currently HALF PRICE

In Emma's superb sale, you can save up to a gigantic 55% on mattresses and bedding. The company's all-foam Original is no exception: for a limited time, it's just £440 in king size, rather than the normal £880. That's an incredible saving of 50%.
Emma
Save 50%

Also consider: Eve Original

For those who prefer a firmer feel, consider the Eve Original. Noticeably firmer than most of its all-foam rivals, it’s a supportive and comfortable mattress that’s particularly well suited to a sprung-slatted base. Prices start at £429, then rise to £699 for a double and £799 for a king size. What's more, Eve has increased its mattress trial period to one year, now matching the 365-night trial offered by Nectar.  

Buy now from Eve


Nectar mattress: The best mattress for a generous trial period

Price: From £569 | Buy now from Nectar

The standout feature of Nectar’s memory foam mattress is the brand’s 365-night-long trial period, which is one of the most generous trial periods we’ve ever come across. Having a whole year to decide whether or not a mattress is right for you certainly takes a great deal of stress out of the buying process. Before Eve increased its own trial period to one year, Nectar was the only bed-in-a-box brand to offer such a generous perk.  

Trial period aside, it’s also one of the most comfortable bed-in-a-box mattresses we’ve ever tested, offering excellent levels comfort and support, as well as minimal odour after unpacking it.

Read our full Nectar mattress review

Get a VAST 45% off the Nectar memory foam mattress

Nectar is currently serving up an incredible discount of 45% on its memory foam mattress. That means the king-size model is temporarily just £467, rather than the normal £849. That's a stellar saving.
Nectar
Save 45%

Sprung mattresses

“Sprung” is a blanket (sorry!) term that encompasses a range of different designs. Pocket sprung mattresses (pictured below) are the most popular, in which the springs are sewn into fabric pockets.

You can also get open coil and continuous coil mattresses, which are made up of springs (or in the case of continuous coil, of one single looped wire) held together by a wire frame. These are often the cheapest option, but they are not as good as pocket sprung mattresses.

Pros

  • Offers ample support
  • Better at keeping you cool than a foam-based mattresses
  • Avoids the ‘sinking feeling’ associated with memory foam
  • Construction uses less plastic

Cons

  • Doesn’t conform to the body like memory foam does
  • Not as good at reducing motion transfer
  • Won’t feel quite as luxurious
  • Natural fillings more susceptible to body impressions

Should I buy a sprung mattress?

If you’re prone to getting too hot in bed, or decent levels of buoyant support are a priority for you, then you should perhaps consider opting for a pocket sprung mattress. Since their construction uses less plastic, there’s also some argument in favour of the environment (although most mattresses can be recycled).

The best sprung mattresses to buy

Harrison Spinks Velocity 4250: The best eco-friendly bed-in-a-box alternative

Price: From £599 | Buy now from Sopha

Inspired by the bed-in-a-box market, traditional mattress manufacturer Harrison Spinks’ Velocity 4250 arrives at your door rolled and vacuum sealed within 24 hours. One of nine models in the Velocity range, it offers a “medium” support and contains two layers of pocket springs beneath three natural comfort layers made from cotton and wool blends.

When we tested it, we found it to be a very supportive mattress (although slightly lacking in edge support). If you like the idea of free, fast delivery but would rather avoid the foam mattresses of many bed-in-a-box brands, it’s a great eco-friendly alternative, being free of chemicals and glue.

It’s also worth noting that, although you don’t get a money back guarantee with your new mattress, Harrison Spinks does offer a 60-night comfort promise, at the end of which you can swap your mattress if you’re not happy.

Read our full review of the Harrison Spinks Velocity 4250

Buy now from Sopha


The best mattress type: What about hybrid mattresses?

Hybrid mattresses claim to offer the best of both worlds, using a combination of springs and foam to strike the perfect balance between comfort and support. There are plenty of hybrid mattresses available, but it’s worth considering that some use springs as a comfort layer, where others use them as a support layer.

Simba, for example, uses small titanium “Aerocoil” springs in the upper layers of its Hybrid, whereas Eve uses full-sized pocket springs to deliver a supportive foundation in its Lighter Hybrid.

The best hybrid mattresses to buy

Simba Hybrid Pro: The best hybrid mattress where money is no object

Price: From £999 | Buy now from Simba 

With an upper wool layer, the Simba Hybrid Pro did a better job of keeping us cool than many of its hybrid rivals. It also has two layers of micro springs (one more than the regular Simba Hybrid), which makes the mattress both bouncy and breathable.

It’s certainly not cheap, starting at just under £1,000 for a single, but the 200-night trial period should soften this blow somewhat. Plus, there’s a good change that you’ll be able to get it discounted at any given time.

Read our full review of the Simba Hybrid Pro

Save a MASSIVE 40% on the Simba Hybrid Pro

As a treat for new customers, Simba is offering discounts of up to 55% off sitewide. The brand's Hybrid Pro, our favourite Simba mattress, is no exception and is currently 40% cheaper at £989, down from £1,649, in king size.
Simba
Save 40%

Otty mattress: The best hybrid for a firmer feel

Price: From £600 | Buy now from Otty

Although its crawled up in price since we first reviewed it, the Otty Original Hybrid still represents a more affordable alternative to the Simba Hybrid Pro featured above. Made from five layers in total, including full-size pocket springs, it’s on the firmer end of the spectrum. So, if you prefer a soft mattress, the Otty Hybrid might not be for you.

That said, It’s one of our favourite hybrid mattresses, and we could find very few faults when we tested it. Although the above-mentioned price increase has undermined its previously held title as one of the best value hybrid mattresses, you'll rarely need to pay full price thanks to the regular discounts offered by Otty.

Read our full review of the Otty Hybrid

Save a ASTRONOMIC 40% on the Otty Original Hybrid

In Otty's current sale, you can save 40%, or £400, on the company's king-size Original Hybrid Mattress. That means it's now just £600, rather than the normal price of £1,000. Just get in there as soon as possible while the offer lasts.
Otty
Save 40%

Read more

Buying Guide